Suicide awareness groups demand change at Waitangi to lower Maori suicide rates

The brother of a man who took his own life is calling on the Government to visit while at Waitangi and talk about how they can be doing more to lower the Maori suicide rates.

Last year more Maori took their own life than ever before, and suicide awareness groups say that's because there's no help.

The message at Waitangi was very clear - the grim reality of suicide inked on a Ute, with messages of love and the names of those who have been lost.

An outpouring of aroha with barely a space left untouched.

The reality is last year the Maori suicide rate was the highest ever, with more than 23 people per 100,000 ending their own life. Double the number that are European

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says mental health is a priority

"We have made mental health a priority for the government."

The government promised to identify unmet needs and create a better mental health system but the message from many visiting here at Waitangi is that that's not happening.

They're holding out until March when the government announces plans to change the system, to see if it does change.

Because right now, volunteers say they're on their own. Even calls to the local DHB have gone ignored.

Northland Suicidal Car Club, team leader, Codi Harris has doubts.

"Nah I don't think they're helped in the past year. I've helped in the past year. Not the government."

“No Hui Just Doey” spokesperson Waata Keating says the government needs to step up.

"I think they need to wake up and come down and have a look at it and realise it's not about numbers. These are our loved ones."

Today they sing a waiata that has become an anthem for change, sending a message of hope to touch the lives who need help.